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African Women Playwrights’ Network and University Of Warwick launch online educational toolkit for schools and home schooling

Woza Africa! - Theatre in the African Context was created by Dr Yvette Hutchison, with the help of Kenyan playwright JC Niala and Public Engagement Consultant Flo Swann, to introduce teachers, theatre groups and students around the world to a wide range of African approaches to storytelling, alongside historic and cultural frames of reference.

Dr Hutchison said: “The toolkit offers new insights into innovative ways of making theatre in a way that is fun and accessible. By offering content for teachers, links to further resources and structured practical exercises for each topic, students can then experiment and be creative in how they apply the learning to their own work and worlds.”

The Toolkit endeavours to present Africa as complex, multi-facetted and both responsive to the wider world and impacting on it creatively. So, it begins by exploring Africa geographically, historically and culturally, before delving into the role ‘theatre’ plays in different cultures today. It sets out some specific characteristics of African Theatre before considering its role as an ‘ideas sandpit’ – a space in which we can explore our histories, identities, and collective value systems openly - engages audiences actively in the stories and their telling. As an example, content from works by contemporary African Playwrights (Woza Albert! and Sophiatown) help to guide the reader to consider the topic of Justice. Throughout the Toolkit there are links to further information and resources including videos and music. Structured discussions and practical exercises – written, oral, choral and physical – will help teachers and students explore how African approaches to theatre can be better understood in practice, and how they can be translated to your own work.

This toolkit comes out of the African Women Playwrights’ Network (AWPN), which was established in 2015, as part of an AHRC funded project entitled, ‘Networking Women's theatre in Africa’. Dr Hutchison explains “When looking for curriculum resources, I found that there was very little work by African Playwrights that was easily accessible or published. This galvanised me to find creators in Africa and to form a network to encourage and promote contemporary work by African women.”

Today the network is making women's work more visible and creating greater opportunities for playwrights and other creatives on the continent. It is also connecting African women creative practitioners across Africa and throughout the world with each other, with producers, theatres, educators and researchers. This has led to the publication of the second ever collection of plays by African women, Contemporary Plays by African Women (Methuen, 2019) which has enabled schools and universities to expand their curriculum. Woza Africa! follows on from this to support engagement with diverse cultural materials.

“The launch of the toolkit is particularly timely with the current challenges of home schooling. We encourage you to download the toolkit and hope you enjoy working with it creatively.” Dr Yvette Hutchison. For further information and to download the toolkit, please go to

Additional information/notes to editors

The University of Warwick funded for the project from June 2017, enabling the network to grow its membership to over 400 women from more than 21 countries. Warwick Ventures (the University’s Knowledge Transfer team), has supported the development of AWPN, working alongside Dr Hutchison to help develop the project strategy and implement collaborative partnerships with digital partners, theatres, film makers and creative consultants. Warwick Ventures funded the creation of the Woza Africa! Education Toolkit through its Ideas Fund.

Tue 05 May 2020, 14:40 | Tags: Arts